By use of the technique of high relief-carving, the artisan Chen Zhixian, a male arts and crafts master of Hangzhou city born in 1960 in Fuyang city of Zhejiang province, reproduced the classic Chinese pattern “Hundred Birds Paying Homage to the Phoenix” via the medium of bamboo carving. This piece won the Gold Award at the Masterpiece Exhibition of Shanghai-based Arts and Crafts Masters in 2010.
Legend has it that the phoenix, which was originally a normal inconspicuous bird, saved the other breeds of birds from the brink of starvation with its relentless efforts in years of drought. The other birds, acknowledging the phoenix as their king in gratitude, dedicated the most beautiful feather on them to the phoenix, making the latter a sacred bird of beauty and nobility, and it became a tradition that on birthdays of the phoenix, the other species of birds would come together to pay their homage to the birds’ king. Phoenix then became symbol of emperors and empresses in the Chinese culture, and later narrowed down to the representation of empresses while dragon emerged as a token of emperors.